Trends in Ownership and Control
- Convergence of content through concentration of ownership.
- During the 1990’s a series of vast mergers and acquisitions.
- Creation of media corporations operating across a range of different content production.
- Made possible by deregulation of media markets.
Media Corporations – Global Corporations
- Transnational conglomerates.
- Horizontal and vertical integration.
- Diversification, synergy and technological convergence.
Cross media ownership – global media corporations invest in a wide range of media. For example, News Corp owns companies in each of these: newspapers, magazines, books, terrestrial and satellite TV and film studios.
A single corporation that controls different stages in the production and distribution chain. For example, ‘downstream’ vertical integration – a movie studio owns cinemas where films are exhibited, shops where DVDs are sold/rented. ‘Upstream’ vertical integration – a cable channel buys a production company.
In media economics, synergy is the promotion and sale of a product (and all its versions) throughout the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate, e.g. films, soundtracks or video games. The effect of synergy is that two things working together can be more productive than when working separately.
Where several technologies are in one media product – online news with video content, interactive TV, laptop, MP3 and mobile phones.
Theories of Media Ownership
All points of view need to be available via the media if society is to be truly democratic. Free media is required to monitor abuses of power and influence.
Pluralist Theory of Media Ownership
The argument is that media owners are usually responsible in their manner of new information content and distribution. This is the economic reality. This is due to news content being formed by consumer demand (the media audiences). Professional ethics acts as a system of control on the media owners. Therefore mass media is a democratic process.
Who owns the Global Media? (2015)
21st Century Fox own Fox News, Fox Television Group, Fox Sports, FX and partially owns the National Geographic channels.
Axel Springer owns BILD, WELT and FAKT.
CBS own CBS Television Network, CBS News, CBS Radio, Showtime Networks Inc and Simon & Schuster.
Comcast own NBC Universal and Telemundo.
News Corp owns News Corp and News UK.
Nikkei own The Financial Times and Nition Keizai Shimbun.
Time Warner own Home Box Office (HBO), Turner Broadcasting System and Warner Bros.
The Walt Disney Company own Disney, ABC Television and ESPN.
Media conglomeration: cinema, TV, music, recording, publishing and merchandise were once separate enterprises. From the 1980’s onward, there has been a tendency towards conglomeration across these areas of media production. The same media text can be deployed seamlessly across a range of platforms.